House of the Dragon certainly delivered a satisfying season finale this week, which will hopefully cause even more chaos in season two. While various fan theories came to life, there was one constant complaint throughout the entire debut season of the hit series: it’s just too dang dark.
While HBO generally has higher quality shows, many fans were complaining that they could barely make out the sea of blonde heads this season because of the literal darkness in the show. Showrunner Ryan Condal definitely heard the critique, though he says he thought it initially “looked great.”
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Condal says that there were a lot of factors to take into account when it came to the (literal) darkness in the show (the figurative darkness will surely be explored in season two). When asked about how he plans to improve the lighting in season two, Condal gave a quick explanation:
The visual continuity of the show is certainly something that we will look at. That stuff is always so tricky because we’re doing [post-production] on millions of dollars worth of high-end equipment, almost as if we’re making a movie. It looked great in post and I looked great on my television. But when you release a Star Wars film, you’re releasing it in theaters. For TV, you’re releasing it onto a million different television screens and different setups and calibrations all over the planet. You’re also releasing it through different distributors who are going to distribute it in 4K or 1080p or 1080i or not that at all. So it’s hard to account for everybody’s everybody’s televisions and their calibrations and sometimes the file can get compressed. So the show can look very different than the thing that we saw and approved and released.
Even though he did approve the darkest episodes of television to ever air, he also insists that he is taking the feedback into account for the upcoming season. “But look: It’s our job to take all that into account,” Condal added. “These are one of the things that you learn in the making of a show – you take that knowledge into account when making season two and say, ‘How can we do better?’ The feedback was certainly heard. I get it. And we want the show to be a great viewing experience for everybody.”
Initially, HBO claimed the darkness was a “creative decision.” This type of critique isn’t new, as many fans felt the same way about Game of Thrones in 2019, though that criticism was overlooked by the disastrous final season.
While there is no news on when the next season will air, with all of the backlash, it wouldn’t be surprising if they buy some fancy new spotlights!